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Comment Re:Lesson (Score 1) 48

It's a little more complicated. First, separating parent and child is an intrinsic harm in and of itself, so you need to be damned certain the parents are harming the child. In this case, the child was already under a physician's care. It's not as if the parents were giving her black market medical treatments. Neither group of doctors claimed that there was nothing wrong with her or that the parents were actively giving her something to make her sick, they just disagreed on the diagnosis.

Essentially the parents were "abusive" because they believed the doctors at Tufts rather than the doctors at Boston Children's.

Submission + - 'Calibration error' changes GOP votes to Dem in Illinois (

Okian Warrior writes: Early voting in Illinois got off to a rocky start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan: “I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that “While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

Submission + - Would redundancy and really long TTL have countered a lot of DDOS effects? ( 1

marmot7 writes: My primary takeaways from this article was that it's important to have redundancy (additional NS's) and that it's important to have a very long TTL when you're not actively updating something. Would the measures in this article have at least limited the damage of these attacks? The long TTL change alone would have made the cache likely covered the entire attack, right?

Submission + - Spare the Screen Time, Spoil the Child?

theodp writes: For years, the conventional wisdom has been that too much screen time is bad for kids. Indeed, the Obamas famously limited their 11- and 14-year-old daughters' use of technology to weekends, and banned watching TV on weekdays. But now, Engadget reports, new guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics studies suggest we were wrong about limiting children's screen time. So, with new Google-Gallup research suggesting that students deprived of daily use of a computer at home are placed at a disadvantage when it comes to learning CS, could it be that the President's well-intentioned screen time limits contributed to his daughters' failure to take to coding in the way he'd like? Might he have been better off to emulate the Onion's 'Craig Georges' ("I've never once considered monitoring my child’s screen time. I guess I’m a better parent than I realized.")?

Comment Re:About time. (Score 1) 540

They won't change their minds. You see, they sincerely believe the vaccine will do more harm than good. Even if they DO get polio, they'll still be glad that they didn't compound it by getting the vaccine as well. Yes, I do see the logical flaw there, that's why I'm glad to have had my vaccinations.

Submission + - A peek into the future of lithium batteries (

Eloking writes: In a great example of a low-cost research solution that could deliver big results, University of Michigan scientists have created a window for lithium-based batteries in order to film them as they charge and discharge.

The future of lithium-ion batteries is limited, says University of Michigan researcher Neil Dasgupta, because the chemistry cannot be pushed much further than it already has. Next-generation lithium cells will likely use lithium air and lithium sulfur chemistries. One of the big hurdles to be overcome in making these batteries practical is dendrites — tiny branch-like structures of lithium that form on the electrodes.

Comment Re:Is that all (Score 1) 540

It's inevitable that a certain fraction of people go off the deep edge. People are irrational, even (or perhaps mostly) people who are convinced they are entirely rational. Rationality is a fragile thing because emotion and confirmation bias are deeply woven into everyone's thinking.

For normal people are few more powerful emotional impulses than the urge to protect children. It should hardly be surprising that children come to harm from it.

Submission + - First New US Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years Goes Live (

An anonymous reader writes: The Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating an event 43 years in the making: the completion of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1973, the TVA, one of the nation's largest public power providers, began building two reactors that combined promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes. The first reactor, delayed by design flaws, eventually went live in 1996. Now, after billions of dollars in budget overruns, the second reactor has finally started sending power to homes and businesses. Standing in front of both reactors Wednesday, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar 2, the first US reactor to enter commercial operation in 20 years, would offer clean, cheap and reliable energy to residents of several southern states for at least another generation. Before Watts Bar 2, the last time an American reactor had fired up was in 1996. It was Watts Bar 1--and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost $6.8 billion, far greater than the original price tag at $370 million. In the 2000s, some American power companies, faced with growing environmental regulations, eyed nuclear power again as a top alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. A handful of companies, taking advantage of federal loan guarantees from the Bush administration, revived nuclear reactor proposals in a period now known as the so-called "nuclear renaissance." Eventually, nuclear regulators started to green light new reactors, including ones in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2007, the TVA resumed construction on Watts Bar 2, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The TVA originally said it would take five years to complete. The TVA, which today serves seven different southern states, relies on nuclear power to light up approximately 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar 2, the company's seventh operating reactor, reaffirms its commitment to nukes for at least four more decades, Johnson said Wednesday. In the end, TVA required more than five years to build the project. The final cost, far exceeding its initial budget, stood at $4.7 billion.

Comment Re:DCMA Fair Use / Parody (Score 1) 215

Ah, but is it a parody of the copyrighted elements? That's the tack I'd take if I were Samsung's lawyer: this is not parodying Samsung's IP, it is quoting Samsung's IP in a literal, non-transformative way that is not actually parody.

Of course in my heart I'd hope to lose, but that argument is no more ridiculous than many others that have become established case law. Issues like privacy and IP are where fundamental values we have as a society cut against each other and generate innumerable weird corner cases.

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 1) 180

OK, but you won't like it. That will mean the software doesn't release until the lead programmer says so. No ifs ands or buts. If management presses too hard on that issue, THEY go to jail. Expect prices to get a lot higher and development time to multiply. Provide a high quality hardware platform or no go. No substituting hardware later or you invalidate the sign-off. Expect to have a computer dedicated to that application and that application only. Be sure to get any thing added to the LAN approved...

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 1) 180

It's not just how hard you check, but how incisively. It's easy to satisfy yourself that software's anticipated failure modes won't happen. What's tough is discovering ways of screwing up that have never happened before.

That's why there's no substitute for experience. This gets back to the very roots of rocket science: the path to success passes through many, many failures.

Comment Re:Not to Sound iIke a Snowflake... (Score 4, Insightful) 227

It's not only that. The problem with most theories of eugenics is that they draw from experience with agricultural breeding of domesticated species. Humans are not domesticated; we're a wild species with massive genetic diversity compared to, say, purebred Arabian horses.

This means that with us sexual reproduction still does what it is supposed to do: generate genetic diversity in offspring. Look at large families. You get some who are tall and some who are short; some who have Grandpa Joe's nose and others that have Grandpa John's jaw, others who get both or neither. Even with litter of pedigreed puppies you'll get one total loser and if you're lucky one champion; and pedigreed dog litters are much more alike than any set of human siblings. And that's just physical traits; in terms of interests, talents, and success there is massive variability among siblings, although there is some correlation, in part due to economic circumstances, upbringing and education.

Nature works this way because variability is good for the species, and that variability comes from combinations of genes being shuffled. Add to that the massive behavioral plasticity of our gigantic brains, and the idea that you can sample some of, say, Steve Jobs DNA for successful CEO markers is ludicrous. If you'd raised Jobs in a different family and sent him to a different set of schools, and didn't get him luck out by ending up close friends with Woz, then while he may well have been quite successful in some other way, he wouldn't have been the Steve Jobs we knew.

Of course, willingness to go along with the DNA test is a good test for one phenotypical trait: the willingness to put up with pseudo-scientific baloney.

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